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Canon EOS 5D Mark II

5DII_1_
Review Date: Jan 15, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,499.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: High ISO, Image Detail, Dynamic Range, 10x Focus option, 21.1mp, Still Image from Video, Low Light Still/Video Performance, Responsiveness, top LCD light button * moved next to shutter, My Menu
Cons:
If this camera was $5000, I might say something. At $2700 it has no shortcomings.

I waited 6 weeks before posting my review here. This camera lives up to the "Vincent Laforet Hype" and more. I rarely use the video, but when I have used it, the performance is stunning considering this is a dslr.

I should note that I do hang out at a couple dslr forums (including, obviously, FMForums, but more often I hang out at a Canon forum that most of us are familiar with). The bashing of and whining about this camera that I have witnessed is truly inexplicable. While it is simply the law of averages that there will be a certain number of people with a negative personality in any group, it is still disappointing to see, as there are still undecided potential buyers reading this stuff.

I also shoot an EOS 1N PB-E1, XTi (just sold) and 40D. I tell you, 21mp full-frame images with 'L' lenses is something else! The detail is stunning - the more you zoom in, the detail just keeps getting sharper and sharper. I am going to order some large prints just for the fun of it.

This camera just seems to know what to do with high-contrast scenes. In low light, Auto ISO selects 3200 and the scene looks like it was lit with studio lights - almost.

With the BG-E6 grip it's like handling a chunk of granite - and the grip provides improved handling with my 135L, 70-200L, etc. When I put my 85mm 1.8 on, it's pretty puny attached to such a chunk of magnesium alloy.

They could have had any camera they wanted for Barack Obama's portrait - they chose this one. Good call.

Full-frame, 21mp, HTP, ALO, really clean ISO3200, easy and quick menu changes if you're accustomed to Canon layout, sharp and vivid LCD, 150K shutter, 1080p video in H.264, locks focus right NOW, firmware updates, fits like a glove and stellar service from my local dealer.

I'm good, thank you.




 
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

70-300_isusm
Review Date: May 15, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $425.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: 2-mode IS, sharp throughout range, nice size/weight/handling, price, UD element
Cons:
barrel extends when zooming

I originally purchased a new copy from Amazon, but returned it for reasons not related to the lens' performance. It wasn't long before I missed this lens quite a lot. I was fortunate to find a used one locally through craigslist, still under warranty, for a decent price.

This lens is a hidden gem in the Canon lineup. In this range, most folks drool over the 70-200 L's. Well, I recently bought a new 70-200mm f/4L IS, and my 70-300 stands right up to it. Granted, the L has a nicer build. Please note, also, that I am fairly new to dslr's, having just started 2 months ago, and I am just learning how to use my 30D body, so the performance I've had with the 70-200L is likely more my fault than the lens.

Anyway, let me get back on topic - the 70-300. The lens has a UD element, which you don't see very often in this price range. If you look at the MTF (resolution) charts at photozone for this lens and the 70-200 L, they are very close to each other.

This lens produces very nice colors and contrast straight out, and the sharpness is at a high level. It took me a little time to learn how to pick an area of my subject to lock focus on so it didn't hunt, but now I can lock on pronto. The IS gives a good 3-stops.

Finally, the first time I used this lens, when I was only a week with a digital slr, I tried taking images of flying birds while on vacation. Considering how un-skilled I am at this, this lens produced quite a few very nice images.

I highly recommend this lens and give it a '10' based on the price/performance and compared to what else is out there.